Kate Woodcox is a Managing Director with Cushman & Wakefield’s Oakland office. During her career now spanning well over a decade, Kate has completed transactions in most major markets within the United States. Over her career she has been involved with a wide range of assignments including portfolio dispositions, investment sales, vacant building sales, national tenant representation, build to suits and land sales. Her client list is extensive and includes some of the biggest and most respected names in the industrial and logistics sector, both regionally and nationally. Kate’s accomplishments include prior recognition as a Top 10 Broker with her office, a multi-honoree of the firm’s Top 10 under 5 Years in Northern California, and she has been a nominee for CREW’s cherished Emerging Leader award. Read our interview with Kate to hear her thoughts on women in CRE and what attributes have made her such a success, as we wrap up our celebration of Women’s History Month for 2019 this week:
How important is it that women, particularly young women, have not only mentors but role models in the CRE industry to learn and grow from? And in one sentence, what is one message or piece of advice you learned you would share with these women?
I believe that it is of the utmost importance. Just as in any industry or arena, young women (or anyone for that matter) often need to see someone who they can identify with succeed in order to know there is also a place for them, and that they too can accomplish something similar.
The best pieces of advice I have received have had more to do with lessons in business development itself versus having to do with being a woman within the commercial real estate industry. One such piece of advice came during my first year of business and has always resonated and helped me maintain balance, especially in challenging times—and that was “not to react.” Emotions run high in this business for both men and women equally, and so it is important for all professionals to pause, gain clarity and think the moment through completely to avoid situations from potentially becoming more tenuous or escalated by a sudden reaction. In tense situations it is often best to simply neglect to provide any immediate reaction at all.
Are there any myths or stereotypes when it comes to the CRE industry that you feel are untrue or need to be tuned out when it comes to a person’s gender?
I have been in the CRE business now for 12 years working predominantly in the industrial sector and since day one it has often been assumed by both men and women in the industry working outside of my firm—whether regionally or in other markets—that I am either likely someone’s assistant or perhaps am working for someone in another capacity and merely calling on their behalf. I am sure there are many female brokers who have experienced this across various sectors, not just industrial. It is something that I thought would go away with time and especially in achievement, but to the contrary it continues to happen. Hopefully as women continue to make more progress within our industry to gain better recognition, such stereotype will go away.
How would you say that Cushman & Wakefield has helped in the advancement of women in the industry, yourself included?
I am continually impressed at how Cushman & Wakefield dismisses any and all traditional gender stereotypes and roles. I have noticed that more than any other company, C&W promotes female brokers and supports their success—seeking female brokers within the industrial real estate niche and notably hiring both male and female administrative personnel and staff, which in this industry can be a novelty even in 2019. By acknowledging that men can also fill roles traditionally, and stereotypically that were once thought mainly for women, such as administrative and office management for example, women are simultaneously encouraged that there is gender equality present. I think this helps on some level, both subconscious and conscious, to instill greater confidence within our profession, and for both genders.
What are some of the attributes it requires to be successful in your role? What are some of your strongest attributes that help define who you are?
I believe that having persistence/perseverance is the most beneficial attribute to being successful in commercial real estate. This industry can throw a lot of challenges and situations at you in a number of ways. We must always believe in our abilities and preparedness to be able to navigate through them to achieve the goals of not only ourselves but more so our clients.
In terms of personal attributes, I would have to say patient, competitive, aspiring, and optimistic are among my top traits that have helped in my success within and outside the industry.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you, and why is it important that we celebrate?
It is imperative to celebrate the trailblazers, from the average person to the historically acclaimed women who have influenced and advanced society to where we are today. The role of women, particularly in the workforce, has come a long way in a relatively short period of time as a result of many little victories that have created big ripples or even waves.
Women’s History Month gives us all an opportunity to pause, reflect and consider the great sacrifices and efforts made by these pioneers of past and present so that women can be in the valued position that we are in today. And it also reminds us to be grateful of one another and to continue to look ahead as we carve our own path forward in the direction of absolute gender equality.
Story by Joshua Deale, Senior Communications Specialist